Rethinking the victim in Zoe Morrison's Music and Freedom (2016)

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This chapter considers the complex and intersectional nature of victimhood,
agency and survivorship in its analysis of an Australian woman’s
literary text, Zoë Morrison’s Music and Freedom (2016). Deploying
Rebecca Stringer’s argument that the term ‘victim’ does not have to imply
that women who have been subjected to violence have no agency and are
completely disabled by it, this chapter suggests that Morrison’s protagonist,
Alice Murray, is an example of a victim/survivor. The coercive control to
which she is subjected in her marriage mirrors the misogyny of the social
and institutional spaces within which she finds herself. Alice’s turn from
music to writing symbolises her finally being able to speak out about her
experience of intimate partner and family violence, rejecting the fear of
stigma, shame and failure that often prevents white middle-class victims
from breaking with notions of propriety and the need to keep up appearances.
In this way, she embraces a new selfhood in the last years of her life,
expressed through her writing of novels, like the one we are reading.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRe-Writing Women as Victims
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Theory to Practice
EditorsMaria Jose Gamez Fuentes, Sonia Nunez Puente, Emma Gomez Nicolau
Place of PublicationAbingdon Oxford UK
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781351043601
ISBN (Print)9781138487154
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Australian women's literature
  • victimhood
  • survivorship

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